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The representativeness heuristic suggests that similarity judgments provide a basis for judgments of likelihood. We use Tversky’s (1977) contrast model of similarity to design tests of this underlying mechanism. If similarity is used to judge likelihood, factors that are known to affect similarity should also affect judgments of likelihood. In two experiments, we manipulated two such factors described in the contrast model of similarity: the nature of the task and context effects. In a between-subject design, respondents assessed either similarity of fictive citizens of 15th century Florence, or the likelihood that they belonged to the same family. The factors that affected similarity also affected the likelihood judgments. These results support the assumption that similarity is an important contributor to judgments of likelihood.
We noticed that when software has a progress bar showing how long a download will take, people are less likely to give up and cancel it. We also realized that people differ a lot in how much patience they have with technology and that will affect whether they cancel the download. We wanted to test these two hypotheses, so we designed an experiment. We prototyped two pieces of software for downloading music files, one with a process bar (Version A) and the other without (Version B). We could set the download time at 10 s, 30 s, 1 min, 3 min, and 10 min. We found a “need for closure” (NFC) scale to assess a person's desire to complete a task. It did not directly measure patience, but it was related to it. We recruited a sample of forty college students. They all took the NFC test, and then twenty were randomly assigned to Version A and the other twenty to Version B. We gave the students 30 min to download as many songs as they could and randomized the download times for each student. We counted the number of times they canceled the download for each of the download times.
User Verbal Protocol 4356: The user has been given the task of finding a hotel room in downtown Chicago for a particular night and within the range of $100 to $150 per night using a popular travel booking website.
Verbal Protocol: Let's see. I want to get to Chicago. I will click “Find by City,” then I will go to the field to enter “Chicago.” Now I will click “Enter Date.” I see a calendar pop up, so I will click on October, then on 23. Now I will click “Enter.” Okay, now I see a selection: “Search by Price.” I click on this and see a list of options. Great, there is an option $100 to $150, so I will click on that. Now I see ten options …
“It's a cool way to keep in touch with old friends and to see what's going on with everybody.”
– Female, 21
“In terms of concerns with privacy, professors from my major were going on to students’ profiles and then charging them with a violation of professionalism for things that they found (e.g., offensive remarks about professors on Facebook walls).”
– Female, 21
“It is an interesting social network for students across the world … I think that Facebook is an interesting phenomena. I have taught high school students for the past 34 years, and Facebook is one of the most popular, and unique ways I have seen for young people to communicate with others, and expand their social network.”
– Female, 59
“Facebook allows people who would not normally stay in touch to be able to and access information and pictures about one another. The new applications make Facebook not just a way to connect but also fun. However, because of Facebook people do not have the opportunity to interact face to face.”
– Female, 20
“I find Facebook to be an incredibly useful social utility that has proven valuable in other ways as well, including student activism, career advancement and academic enrichment.”
– Male, 23
(Comments from participants in a class study on use of Facebook, 2007)
His name was Josh Evans. He was 16 years old. And he was hot. “Mom! Mom! Mom! Look at him!” Tina Meier recalls her daughter saying.
Josh had contacted Megan Meier through her MySpace page and wanted to be added as a friend. Yes, he's cute, Tina Meier told her daughter. “Do you know who he is?”
“No, but look at him! He's hot! Please, please, can I add him?”
Mom said yes. And for six weeks Megan and Josh – under Tina's watchful eye – became acquainted in the virtual world of MySpace.
Josh said he was born in Florida and recently had moved to O'Fallon. He was homeschooled. He played the guitar and drums.
Following the breakup of Microsoft into the ten new Nanosofts and Apple being forced to include OSs in its app store, hundreds of different types of OSs proliferated. Instead of just Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, there were so many different styles and approaches to organizing desktops and files and controlling the functions of computers that no one knew what to choose. It was a mess until CompuMatchMe.com stepped in to match up people with OSs. The idea was that each user has a different makeup of cognitive abilities and styles and preferences. CompuMatchMe.com developed an algorithm for matching the user's person profile with the ideal OS. Their slogan was “We help you to find your OSoul mate.”
A language instructor was explaining to her class that French nouns, unlike their English counterparts, are grammatically designated as masculine or feminine. Items such as “chalk” or “pencil,” she described, would have a gender association, although in English these words were neutral.
Puzzled, one student raised his hand and asked, “What gender is a computer?”
The teacher was not certain which it was, so she divided the class into two groups and asked them to decide whether a computer should be masculine or feminine. One group comprised the women in the class, and the other, men. Both groups were asked to give four reasons for their recommendation.
The women concluded that computers should be referred to in the masculine gender because
• To get their attention, you have to turn them on.
• They have a lot of data, but are still clueless.
• They are supposed to help you solve your problems, but half the time they ARE the problem.
• As soon as you commit to one, you realize that, if you had waited a little longer, you could have had a better model.
The men, in contrast, decided that computers should definitely be referred to in the feminine gender because
• No one but their creator understands their internal logic.
• The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.
• Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.
The Cylons were built to serve humankind as robotic workers and soldiers. With time, they gained sentience. They rebelled and fought the human race in a major conflict that devastated both sides. An armistice was agreed on, but the Cylons then disappeared for 40 years. They evolved, and they had a plan. They created humanoid models. They returned, infiltrated security, and launched a nuclear attack that eliminated most of the twelve colonies. The humanoid models sought to interbreed with the human survivors. Some of the humans had developed romantic feelings for the humanoid Cylons. Were they “toasters,” or were they human? Could they kill them without remorse? (Adapted from Battlestar Galactica, the 2003 TV miniseries.)
Kristina and Keith entered the name of their firstborn child into the genealogical database on the family HomeStation just as their ancestors had done for twenty generations. The screen had been replaced by their grandparents 50 years earlier, and the processor by their great-great grandparents 100 years earlier after a fire had damaged it. But Keith had to replace the data entry board every 10 years because of wear and tear. Virtually the same software had been running for all these generations. The OS and the applications for word processors, communications, record keeping, home control, etc., were all Version O, “O” for optimal. They had no need to change or upgrade. Any change would result in a problem or in lower performance. No one in their time thought to entertain the idea of technological change. What for?
The Gemstone Honors Program at the University of Maryland is a unique multidisciplinary 4-year research program for selected undergraduate honors students of all majors. One of the Gemstone teams was formed to do the “Ultimate App.” The team was composed of Mary, Martha, and Molly (Chapter 1, Scenario 1) and Mike, Mark, and Melvin. Mary was the visionary, majoring in social and cognitive psychology. Martha was the planner, majoring in business and management. Molly was the fabricator, majoring in studio art and design. Mike was the device builder, majoring in electrical engineering. Mark was the writer, majoring in journalism and communication. Melvin was the hacker, majoring in computer science. They made the perfect team! Steam powered with pizza and Pepsi, they envisioned the app of all apps.
John: I'm opening up my calendar to see what I've scheduled for tomorrow. That's odd. I thought that I had a dentist appointment at three in the afternoon. No wait, I think I recorded that on my smartphone. I guess they're not synced.
Interviewer: Is that a problem?
John: Well, yes, because there might be other things on my phone that haven't been transferred.
Interviewer: What are you going to do?
John: I think that I'd better sync the two calendars right now.
Interviewer: Okay, how do you do that?
John: I don't really know because in the past it seemed to happen automatically. Now it is not doing that.
Interviewer: What do you think is wrong?
John: Good question … I wonder what is different now? Did I change something? Let me look at the settings for sync on the computer. Looks okay. Now I will look at the phone. That looks okay, too. I don't know.
Interviewer: Do you think anything else changed?
John: I don't know. This is really irritating. I wonder if I have to restart the computer or the phone or both. I'll try both.
Interviewer: Now what?
John: It still doesn't work. What's wrong? I am about ready to give up.
Interviewer: Then what?
John: Then I will just manually compare the schedules and add things to the computer or vice versa.
Mary: Okay, I would like to present the design of the new calendar app for the Android OS. To get the calendar, the user presses the button with the calendar icon on it, here. We believe that the user will want to see the day's schedule first, so we go to the schedule for today. From here, the user can select the week or month view by pressing.
Ted: I don't think we can make that assumption. I might access the calendar to add an event next week or check on when we met last month. I think we need to make a list of all possible tasks, and use an interface to minimize the expected number of clicks across all tasks.
James works in purchasing in my building. He is totally into gaming and serves as my informant into PC gaming and its culture. So I asked him, “How do you build a gaming computer?”
James: Well, there are some good websites where you can go to find recommendations, but first you have to figure what you can afford and how much power you want.
Kent: Like, what are the range of prices?
James: So, $500–$600 for a low-end build and $1400 for a high one, not including the monitor.
Kent: What do you have to do to build one?
James: First, you have to get a motherboard, keeping in mind what CPUs, memory, and video cards will be compatible with it.
Kent: That sounds complicated.
James: Not really, the websites help you select the right components. One more thing to keep in mind is making sure that your power supply is adequate enough to run the stuff. The CPU is next. You don't have to get the latest, greatest CPU. Prices drop a lot after a CPU has been on the market for a while like the Intel Core i7.
Kent: Then what?
James: Then memory. I have 16 gig and that is fine and a hard drive. You can get a lot of memory these days. Then the video card and sound card. What's nice about building a computer from components is that you can swap in a better card in the future and keep the computer from becoming obsolete for longer.
Kent: Anything else?
James: Oh, yes! You need a box. The case has to be large enough to store all your components, with room for future upgrades. The most common size is ATX Mid-Tower, which has more than enough space for the typical gaming build.
James: No problem!
Human Literacy 101. “OK, class, I am now distributing the schematic for the basic human nervous system. Now remember that all humans differ from this basic schematic because each human is unique down to the serial number, not just the model. Moreover, they are rather plastic and change in random ways over time.
Jenny was having problems with her knees so she performed a Google search to find medical information and diagnosis. The first hit was “Arthritis Today: When Knees Go Bad.” She clicked on it, read the first part of the article by Judith Horstman, and continued to read the seven additional parts. Then she searched the Arthritis Foundation website (www.arthritis.org) to help self-diagnose her condition. She couldn't find any simple answers. She went back to Google, clicked on “Scholar,” and quickly looked at a few medical articles that got her nowhere. She clicked on “Images” for fun and scanned through a number of humorous and not so humorous pictures of knees. Returning to the Web search in Google, she eliminated a few ridiculous hits until she found an article titled “Questions and Answers About Knee Problems” at www.niams.nih.gov/Health_info/knee_problems/. This fact sheet appeared on the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. She believed that they should have some answers. Maybe now she was on the right track, but she did not learn anything new as she read through the article. At the end of the article was a section titled “Other Sources of Information on Knee Problems.” The listings were all institutes and foundations, along with their contact information, and offering brochures such as “Taking Care of the Knees” and “Using Your Joints Wisely.” A bit discouraged, she gave up and went to bed.
Jerry was in a problem-solving mode. He had tried to print a file, but the printer was not responding. What could be the problem? Jerry had many years of computer experience and had developed a number of repertoires for solving problems. First, he tried to print the paper again. No response. Then, he checked the printer. It was on; it appeared to have no paper or ink problems, as would be indicated by flashing buttons. He checked the printer cable. Yes, it was connected to the computer. Next, he made sure that he had selected the right printer and tried again. No response. Then he shut off the printer, turned it on, and tried all over again, but that didn't do it.
Dr. Norman: Reza, so you are a student in my course on the psychology of video games. Can you tell me about your involvement with video games?
Reza: Yes, I have played video games all my life since I was a kid up to today. I have played so many different games. All of the Pokémon games, tons of fighting games, first person shooters, and the rest. I am mostly a PC gamer, but I have played games on all of the systems, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Game Cube, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, PS1, PS2, PS3, PS4, Wii, and WiiU.
Dr. Norman: I understand you are into League of Legends now.
Reza: Yes, actually I am the copresident of the University of Maryland League of Legends Club. We currently have over 1,000 members on Facebook.
Dr. Norman: Just what is League of Legends?
Reza: So, League is a MOBA, a multiplayer online battle arena. As of January 2014, over 67 million people played League of Legends per month, 27 million per day, and over 7.5 million concurrently during peak hours. Additionally, League of Legends made over $1.6 billion last year, completely dominating the gaming market (source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/26/digital-gaming-sales-hit-record-61-billion-in-2015-report.html).
Dr. Norman: I understand that tournaments are held. Can you tell me about that?
Reza: Yeah, so since League of Legends is a competitive 5 versus 5 multiplayer game, people love going against each other. With over 130 characters to choose from, building teams around combinations of 5 becomes really exciting for both players and spectators. In the past few years, watching League of Legends at live stadium events has only grown larger, as Riot Games has sold out at venues like Madison Square Garden, the Seoul World Cup Stadium, and the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Viewership reached 36 million people worldwide watching the world championship grand finals last year, overtaking the NBA finals. We also host viewing and gaming parties on campus.
Dr. Norman: So, how is the University of Maryland doing in the competition?
Reza: We have been competing in the uLoL with a number of other universities. This year our team went to the final-four tournament in Boston, but we lost to Robert Morris University.
Larry entered the classroom. He looked around and saw that his friend, Tom, was not there yet. He sat down in the second row at an empty workstation and entered his account name and password. After a few seconds, the home page came up on the screen. It identified his workstation as “Joplin” and his screen name as “Larry K.” A label at the top of the screen confirmed that this was Psyc 443: Thinking and Problem Solving in the Information Age. At the bottom of the screen was a set of announcements for the class. Next week was the second exam. Friday would be a review session. The instructor posted a short brainteaser: “Jack's mother had three sons. The first one was named Nickle. The second one was named Dime. What was the name of the third son?”
Larry clicked on an icon on the right side of the screen to look at the listing of his grades. He had a “B” on the first test and had all but one of his assignments submitted. He returned to the home screen and clicked on the Assignments icon. The assignment that he had not yet completed was to write a 500-word paper on examples of divergent thinking. He clicked on the assignment and opened a window to type in a few ideas that he had thought about before class. When he finished, Tom sat down next to him and logged in. Larry clicked on the class-seating chart, saw Tom's avatar next to him and typed in the box beneath his name “Good timing!” He then clicked on the syllabus icon to see what the lecture was about today and then clicked on that line of the syllabus to open up the day's lecture notes. Larry and Tom, however, did not sit back passively listening to the lecture. Throughout the class, they were called on to respond to questions by typing ideas or to experiment with the concepts, diagrams, and simulations shown on the screen.
In 1971, Don Rawitsch was a senior at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, who taught a history class as a student teacher. He wanted to develop a game that would teach school children about the hardships of nineteenth-century pioneer life on the Oregon Trail.
Mary heard the familiar sound of a new message on her iPhone. She unlocked the device with her thumbprint. She clicked on Molly; her thread of messages appeared; and she typed, “Hey, what's up?” A few seconds later she read, “Have an intro psyc test tomorrow … studying the notes online. You?” Mary typed, “Not much, trying to write a paper and looking for refs. Doing a little shopping on the side.” She glanced at her shopping cart in the Amazon app, which held a bag of Free Trade coffee and a Pogo coffee mug she was getting for her father's birthday. Just then, both of them noticed that their friend Martha was messaging them, so they opened a multi-chat app. Each girl had her own icon. Mary had a picture of a female vocalist, Molly was a kitten, and Martha had a miniature picture of herself with a big grin. As it turned out, Martha was checking the movie listings and hoping to get the other two girls to go with her to a 3-D movie. Martha enticed them with a movie they had all been talking about seeing together. Mary typed, “OK, I'm done with shopping and my paper isn't due until next Monday. I'm ready.” Molly keyed in, “Hey, it's a psyc test, I can wing it. I'm in. Let's go.” Mary, Martha, and Molly got up and left the dorm room where they had been sitting together for the past hour, each at her own device.
Dr. Mike J.: Mark can you move that scope just a little to the left? OK, I see it. Yes, there it is. Apply the clamp just to the left on the artery. Perfect. OK, let's get a biopsy on that tissue.
Dr. Mark M.: OK, Mike, I've got the biopsy. Let me just scan it in. Melvin, what's your read on it?
Dr. Melvin N.: Just a second, I am running a full DNA sequence on it. So, how was the fishing trip, Mark? Catch any trout?
Dr. Mark M.: Great. Would have got my limit if it hadn't been for this emergency. How was your golf game, Mike?
Dr. Mike J.: Terrible, I was glad to get out of the game.
Dr. Melvin N.: The analysis just finished. Take a look. Everything is OK.